Littleton was the assistant lighting designer for the New Year's Eve Celebration at Epcot in Walt Disney World.

Designing Disney: Inside Look at CCM Student’s Internship at Walt Disney World

Graduate Lighting Design student Oliver Littleton is in his final year at CCM, and is already working full-time as a paid professional intern at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The MFA student is finishing up his school work from Florida in order to graduate on time this May.

Littleton works as a show lighting design intern with Disney Imagineering, but is also working on a CCM project in Cincinnati that was originally developed by Disney Theatrical Productions. He is the lighting designer for CCM’s upcoming Mainstage Series production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which runs Thursday, March 7-Sunday, March 10, 2019, at CCM’s Corbett Auditorium.

Now, this is not exactly like the animated film musical that patrons may remember from the late ‘90s. The stage musical is based on Victor Hugo’s gothic novel and songs from Disney’s animated feature. It showcases music and lyrics by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, including some new songs that weren’t heard in the film version.

“The stage musical hews closer to the original novel by Victor Hugo and, despite the endearing gargoyles, is designed for adult audiences who will see it as a cautionary tale for our times,” says CCM Musical Theatre Chair Aubrey Berg, director of CCM’s production. Parental discretion is advised.

Littleton was the assistant lighting designer for the New Year's Eve Celebration at Epcot in Walt Disney World.

Littleton was the assistant lighting designer for the New Year’s Eve Celebration at Epcot in Walt Disney World.

Disney’s professional internships are designed to connect students and recent graduates with paid professional opportunities and as the company evaluates them for future employment. Littleton began his internship with Disney over the summer, and plans to continue his work for the company for the foreseeable future.

“I want to continue growing my skills in the entertainment and architectural fields,” Littleton says. “I hope to continue designing for theatre and the opera as well, for both enjoyment and experience. However, I think my long term plans lie in architectural entertainment applications for lighting design.”

Between balancing school work and his work as a Disney Imagineer, Littleton found time to catch up with us to share some behind-the-scenes details about CCM’s production of “Hunchback” and his experience in Disney’s professional internship program.

What does your work at Disney entail? How did you come to this opportunity?
In the spring of 2018, I applied for a Lighting Design Professional Internship with Disney Parks Live Entertainment in Walt Disney World, Florida.  Disney Parks Live Entertainment is the group who design and plan all of the live entertainment aspects of Disney’s parks and resorts around the world. That includes stage shows, parades, live celebrations, events and nighttime spectaculars.  I was chosen as the Lighting Design Professional Intern for the summer and fall cycles, and held that position from June until the end of 2018. I worked as an assistant designer, associate designer, draftsmen and lighting consultant for dozens of projects both current and upcoming. Some of the completed projects that I worked on include Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, DVC Moonlight Magic Events and The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration Live on ABC.

As the end of my professional internship with entertainment neared, I was offered a position working as a Show Lighting Design Professional Intern with Disney Imagineering. Walt Disney Imagineering is the creative force behind Walt Disney Parks and Resorts that dreams up, designs and builds all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate developments and regional entertainment venues worldwide. As a part of the show lighting design team I work to evaluate and assess the existing lighting design in all of our venues and help to maintain the original intent as well as improve the quality of the lighting.  I will be in this position until June, at which time I hope to be offered a full-time position in the same group doing similar work.

Littleton was the assistant lighting designer for the New Year’s Eve Celebration at Epcot in Walt Disney World. Photo provided.

How have you been able to balance your work at Disney and your studies at CCM?
A combination of great understanding by my professors and not much sleep! Last semester I was officially on co-op for 9 of my credit hours, so that was a bit easier than this one has been. I have been working on “Hunchback” with Aubrey Berg and my assistants since last September, and that was pretty easy to balance by putting in a few hours a week in the evenings to communicate with the team via email. After I was offered the opportunity to stay at Disney, I communicated extensively with my advisors about what was best for my education along with, obviously, my future career.  We worked out how many days I would be in Cincinnati during the semester for the show and how I could fulfill some of my class requirements online from Florida. I continued communicating with the director and design team from afar. Frankly it’s just been plenty of long nights and busy weekend days as its been both my full-time job with Disney and another 20 to 30 hours a week of doing things for my MFA.

It has been awesome of my professors to work with me and help me take this amazing opportunity while staying on track to get my degree in May as planned.

What sort of special effects have you incorporated into your lighting design for CCM’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
The show presents us with lots of unique challenges. We need to quickly tell complex moments of the story and show the various scenic changes as characters travel from location to location. We use some great physical tricks to achieve this in the set with props and lighting — but I don’t want to give anything away for people who will come see the show. The big two challenges on this show have been lighting a huge and architectural set, as well as treating five different backdrops for the show. I’ve used a lot of the same techniques and approaches in “Hunchback” that I have previously taken in lighting buildings and event structures, as well as approaches I’ve used in more traditional theatre settings. I think a lot of people who come and see the show will experience a set that feels just a bit different than what they are used to seeing onstage.

A set rendering for CCM’s production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by student scenic designer Lindsey Purvis.

Hunchback” feels epic, dynamic and very real, where so many sets can come off as thin, flimsy and flat. I think the other thing to appreciate is how we use light and subtle changes of the set to quickly move through time and place. I think the audience will be able to quickly understand where we are just from a backdrop or a color movement and hopefully they are impressed by how many looks and feelings we draw out of the space.

What has been your favorite lighting design experience at CCM? What about outside of CCM?
At CCM, I designed the 2017-18 Mainstage production of Candide in Patricia Corbett Theatre. I had both a really great experience and, I think, a pretty cool and unique outcome. We worked hard to create a very unique and bold approach to the tricky piece. A huge part of the storytelling fell to my lighting design and it was a blast to take on that responsibility with such a fun show. Outside of CCM my work at Disney has been really exciting, obviously, and I think that’s been my favorite experience in a long time.

Has there been a specific class or instructor who particularly impacted your learning experience at CCM? How so?
Mark Williams and his Moving Light Programming class my first year at CCM was both an incredible challenge and an essential learning experience for me. The course was about learning to use moving light consoles to program intelligent fixtures in high pressure environments. The course taught me about my own design process as well as ways to use technology to help create stories that otherwise couldn’t exist. The training from Mark’s course is something I use all the time in my work now.

Do you have anything else to add about your experience working on CCM’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
It has been great to work on my first musical at CCM and an exciting change of pace. It’s a unique and powerful addition to our season and a wonderful conclusion to my time earning a masters. I hope everyone who is able to see our production appreciates the piece as a modern and important show; watching rehearsals and being a part of the process has given me a real appreciation for the music and elegant storytelling that comes from both Hugo’s novel and Disney’s animated take on the story. It has been a process that I will remember and continue learning from for a long time.

CCM’s epic production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame opens on Thursday, March 7 and continues through Sunday, March 10, 2019. Tickets are on sale now through the CCM Box Office.

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THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Peter Parnell
Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney film
Originally developed by Disney Theatrical Productions

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, March 7
  • 8 p.m. Friday, March 8
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, March 9
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Ticket prices start at $32. Discounts are available for UC and non-UC students. Service charges may apply for online orders.

Single tickets are on sale now! Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online through our e-Box Office!

Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice for CCM Box Office hours and location.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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Mainstage Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Musical Theatre Production Sponsor: Dr. & Mrs. Carl G. Fischer

Musical Theatre Performance Sponsor: Graeter’s Ice Cream

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 Tel: 212-541-4684 Fax: 212-397-4684 www.MTIShows.com

CCM News Student Salutes
Photography from CCM's Fall 2017 Mainstage Series production of 'Seussical' by Mark Lyons.

CCM Announces 2018-19 Mainstage Series of Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre and Opera

Photography from CCM's Fall 2017 Mainstage Series production of 'Seussical' by Mark Lyons.

Photography from CCM’s Fall 2017 Mainstage Series production of ‘Seussical’ by Mark Lyons.

The best is yet to come with CCM’s eight-part series of theatre arts productions! With new streamlined subscription packages, it’s never been easier to get the best tickets at the season’s best prices.

CCM will present eight masterworks spanning the spectrum of the theatre arts during its 2018-19 Mainstage Series of Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre and Opera. Running from October 2018 through April 2019, these productions will showcase the phenomenal talent and polished professionalism of CCM’s young performing, design and media artists.

This season’s Mainstage Series includes classic and contemporary musicals with Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling’s Guys and Dolls and Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz and Peter Parnell’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the best of comedic and dramatic acting with Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector and Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, great operas from master composers with Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and W.A. Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, and innovative dance programs that include a mixed repertoire concert of Birthday Variations and a fully-staged story ballet production of Prokofiev’s Cinderella.

The complete 2018-19 Mainstage Series lineup is listed below. Titles and dates are subject to change – rights pending. For the most current calendar of events, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.
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CCM’S 2018-19 MAINSTAGE SERIES
Acting, Musical Theatre, Opera, Dance

"The Government Inspector" promo image by Mark Lyons.THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR
Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the original by Nikolai Gogol
Richard E. Hess, director

When the locals in a small Russian hamlet learn that an undercover government inspector is coming for a surprise visit, a case of mistaken identity sends the whole village spiraling into a world of panic and greed. Part farce, part slapstick and wholly entertaining, this timely and spirited adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s classic play exposes the corruption of a provincial town with biting hilarity.

Performance Dates: Oct. 3 (preview), Oct. 4-7, 2018
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

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"Guys and Dolls" preview photography by Mark Lyons.GUYS AND DOLLS
Book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Based on The Idyll of Sarah Brown and characters by Damon Runyon
Diane Lala, director and choreographer
Roger Grodsky, musical director

Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, Guys and Dolls is the perfect musical comedy. Nathan Detroit is a gambler trying to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck. Meanwhile, his girlfriend and nightclub performer, Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for 14 years. Nathan turns to fellow gambler Sky Masterson for the dough, and Sky ends up chasing straight-laced missionary Sarah Brown as a result. Guys and Dolls takes us from the heart of Times Square to the cafés of Havana, Cuba and even into the sewers of New York City, but eventually everyone ends up right where they belong.

Performance Dates: Oct. 19 and 21, Oct. 26-27, 2018
Note: A special gala performance of Guys and Dolls will be presented on Saturday, Oct. 20, in honor of CCM Musical Theatre’s 50th anniversary; special pricing applies.
Location: Corbett Auditorium

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"The Turn of the Screw" preview photography by Mark Lyons.THE TURN OF THE SCREW
Music by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by Myfanwy Piper, after a story by Henry James
Aik Khai Pung, conductor
Vince DeGeorge, director

Based on Henry James’ classic ghost-story novella, Britten’s compelling chamber opera presents the story of a governess charged with the care of two orphaned children at their absentee uncle’s country estate, where the ghosts of a former valet and his lover haunt the grounds. With a blend of 12-tone techniques, arresting motifs and stirring lyricism, the action moves with incredible fluidity, creating a chilling tale of sexual repression and the corruption of innocence. For mature audiences.

Performance Dates: Nov. 15-18, 2018
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

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"Birthday Variations" preview photography by Mark Lyons.BIRTHDAY VARIATIONS
Jiang Qi, director

CCM Dance showcases an array of classic and contemporary works restaged and choreographed by CCM Dance faculty members. The thrilling highlight of the evening is Birthday Variations, originally choreographed by Gerald Arpino, former Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet, to music by Giuseppe Verdi. Birthday Variations is presented by arrangement with the Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey Foundation.

Performance Dates: Dec. 6-9, 2018
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

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"Our Country's Good" preview photography by Mark Lyons.OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD
By Timberlake Wertenbaker
Based on the novel The Playmaker by Thomas Keneally
Susan Felder, director

Set in Botany Bay in 1789, Our Country’s Good is a darkly comedic tale based on the true story of Australia’s first theatrical performance. A marine lieutenant decides to put on a play to celebrate the king’s birthday. He casts the play with convicts who populate an Australian prison camp. Few of them can read, let alone act, and the play is produced against a background of food shortages and barbaric prison punishments. Our Country’s Good is as an inspiring tribute to the transforming power of drama. For mature audiences.

Performance Dates: Feb. 13 (preview), Feb. 14-17, 2019
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

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"Hunchback of Notre Dame" preview image by Mark Lyons.THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Peter Parnell
Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney film
Originally developed by Disney Theatrical Productions
Aubrey Berg, director
Stephen Goers, musical director
Katie Johannigman, choreographer

Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame begins as bells sound through the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer, observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools, but he is held captive by his devious caretaker, the archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo. He escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda. Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her free spirit, though — the handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the gypsies and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all. Parental discretion is advised. Victor Hugo’s novel contains mature themes and situations, which may be distressing for young viewers.

Performance Dates: March 7-10, 2019
Location: Corbett Auditorium

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"La Clemenza di Tito" preview photography by Mark Lyons.LA CLEMENZA DI TITO
(THE CLEMENCY OF TITUS)
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Caterino Mazzolà
Jiannan Cheng, conductor
Robin Guarino, director

Mozart’s last opera seria displays some of his most memorable and marvelous arias! The story centers on Roman emperor Titus (Tito) who must choose a wife, but is unable to find a suitable match. In his search for an empress, Tito narrowly avoids an assassination plot instigated by his best friend Sesto and the former emperor’s daughter, Vitellia, who wants the throne for herself. Caught between his duty and his heart, the emperor must choose whether to rule with mercy or with an iron fist.

Performance Dates: April 12-14, 2019
Location: Corbett Auditorium

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CCM Dance preview image by Mark Lyons.CINDERELLA
Jiang Qi, director

Celebrate spring’s arrival with a fully staged fairytale ballet. A poor girl wishes to escape the authoritarian rule of her evil stepmother and stepsisters, so her fairy godmother gives her a ticket to the ball! The girl meets Prince Charming and they fall in love, but she vanishes when the clock strikes midnight. Set to music by Sergei Prokofiev, Cinderella is known for its jubilant melodies, lush scenery and graceful retelling of the timeless romance by Charles Perrault.

Performance Dates: April 26-28, 2019
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

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Mainstage Series Subscriptions
The 2018-19 CCM Mainstage Series of Acting, Musical Theatre, Opera and Dance productions includes subscription packages for combinations of Eight Shows, Six Shows, Four Shows or Three Shows. Newly streamlined subscription packages make this process easier than ever before. Simply choose your shows and select whether you want seats in Section A (the best views) or Section B (the lowest prices)!

Renewal subscriptions are on sale now with packages ranging in price from $78-$176. Subscribers to CCM’s 2017-18 Mainstage Series can receive priority access to seating by renewing their subscriptions by May 1, 2018.

Subscription packages for new subscribers go on sale May 2, 2018, with packages ranging in price from $81-$192.

Single tickets go on sale beginning Sept. 10, 2018, but subscribing is the only way to guarantee your seats and your savings for CCM’s Mainstage Series!

To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or boxoff@uc.edu.

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2018-19 MAINSTAGE SERIES PERFORMANCE TIMES

THE GOVERNEMENT INSPECTOR
Performance Times:

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 (preview)
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7

Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

GUYS AND DOLLS
Performance Times:

  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19
  • 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 (CCM Musical Theatre 50th Anniversary gala performance; special pricing applies)
  • 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21
  • 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27

Location: Corbett Auditorium

THE TURN OF THE SCREW
Performance Times:

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18

Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

BIRTHDAY VARIATIONS
Performance Times:

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8
  • 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD
Performance Times:

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 (preview)
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17

Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Performance Times:

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, March 7
  • 8 p.m. Friday, March 8
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, March 9
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10

Location: Corbett Auditorium

LA CLEMENZA DI TITO
Performance Times:

  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 12
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 13
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14

Location: Corbett Auditorium

CINDERELLA
Performance Times:

  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 26
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, April 27
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28

Location: Patricia Corbett Theater

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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

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